Eminem has been involved in some of rap’s most talked-about beefs over the course of his 25 year career, and has proved time and time again he’s one of the best when it comes to verbal combat. Here we take a look at every one of his sonic adversaries.
Who: Pop heavy-hitter who has sold over 100 million records worldwide.
The beef: After Eminem married longtime girlfriend Kim in 1999 in a secret ceremony, Christina Aguilera leaked the information during her MTV special What A Girl Wants, and also warned women about the consequences of physical abuse in relationships. Em didn’t take to kindly to her spilling the beans so aired his frustrations on ‘The Real Slim Shady’: “Little bitch put me on blast on MTV/’Yeah, he’s cute, but I think he’s married to Kim, hee-hee’/ I should download her audio on MP3/And show the whole world how you gave Eminem VD (Argh!).” Aguilera and her team dismissed the song’s claims that the singer had been romantically involved with Eminem, before Aguilera responded with her own diss record, ‘The Real Slim Shady (Please Shut Up)’.
The pair were said to have made up after hugging it out backstage at the 2002 MTV VMAs but in 2018 Em released ‘Kick Off’, a 10-minute freestyle that poked fun at Aguilera once again.
Key diss tracks: Eminem – ‘The Real Slim Shady’, Christina Aguilera – ‘The Real Slim Shady (Please Shut Up)’, Eminem – ‘Kick Off’ Freestyle.
Machine Gun Kelly
The beef: Started by a (since deleted) tweet that Machine Gun Kelly sent in 2012 where he referred to Em’s daughter Hailie Jade as “hot as fuck,” Kelly later claimed he was banned from appearing on Eminem’s Shade 45 radio station. He brought up the ban in a 2017 L.A. Leakers freestyle and fired off a subliminal shot on Tech N9ne’s ‘No Reason (The Mosh Pit Song)’, before Eminem hit back with a few jabs on ‘Not Alike’. Responding with ‘Rap Devil’, Machine Gun Kelly attacked Eminem on all fronts, picking apart his character, his legacy, his age and even his selfie game.
Eleven days later Eminem came back with ‘Killshot’, an uninterrupted lyrical assault. As well as calling the Cleveland spitter a “tatted-up mumble rapper,” he laughs at his man bun, labels him a Stan, and even brings up MGK’s ex-girlfriend Halsey. MGK threw a few more light jabs, but on ‘Unaccommodating’, a track taken from his 2020 surprise album ‘Music To Be Murdered By’, Eminem said that he was “moving on” from the beef.
Key diss tracks: Eminem (Feat. Royce Da 5’9”) – ‘Not Alike’, Machine Gun Kelly – ‘Rap Devil’, Eminem – ‘Killshot’.
The beef: Said to have started when Eminem failed to acknowledge Everlast after the two passed each other in a hotel lobby, Everlast took a shot at Em and his daughter Hailie Jade in his guest verse on Dilated Peoples’ ‘Ear Drums Pop (Remix)’. Em responded with ‘I Remember’, which eulogises Everlast’s career and life while poking fun at his Whitey Ford persona and acoustic blues guitar style. Everlast hit back again with ‘Whitey’s Revenge’ and then Eminem fired off probably one of his most brutal disses to date, ‘Quitter’ – which switches up the beat halfway through in a nod to 2Pac’s ‘Hit ‘Em Up’. The pair officially ended their feud in 2014 when they both appeared on the Busta Rhymes record ‘Calm Down’.
Who: Former Def Jux rapper who raps as part of the groups The Weatherman, Smut Peddlers, Nighthawks and Leak Bros.
The beef: Before Eminem released his Aftermath Records debut, Cage accused him of biting his style. He fired off the diss ‘Illest 4 Letter Word’, where aside from using the n-word – something he did frequently in his music and later apologised for – he said he’d stab Eminem in the face “10 times in the same place.” Eminem responded with ‘Role Model’, taken from ‘The Slim Shady LP’, featuring the infamous line: “I bought Cage’s tape, opened it, and dubbed over it.” He kept the insults coming on Indigenous Tribe’s ‘Drastic Measures (Microphone Autopsy)’ and a freestyle on Tony Touch’s ‘Power Cypha 3’ mixtape. Cage dropped off a few more disses, including a promotional snippet called ‘Bitch Lady’ that mocked Eminem’s alter ego, but by this point the Detroit native had gone global, leaving the underground rapper in his rear-view.
Key diss tracks: Cage – ‘Illest 4 Letter Word’, Eminem – ‘Role Model’, Indigenous Tribe (Feat. Eminem) – ‘Drastic Measures (Microphone Autopsy)’, ‘Cage – ‘Bitch Lady (Snippet)’.
Insane Clown Posse
Who: Juggalo hip-hop duo consisting of Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope.
The beef: It all started in the mid 1990s after Eminem handed out flyers for an EP release party he was hosting. As a marketing ploy, he printed that Insane Clown Posse would “maybe” be performing as special guests even though he hadn’t asked them to appear. He later approached Violent J about appearing but he declined the invitation. After the interaction Em released a series of diss records, including ‘Till Hell Freezes Over’ (“Fuck ICP, buy my CD”). ICP responded by attacking Em’s Slim Shady alter ego on ‘Slim Anus’. Em fired back on ‘Marshall Mathers’ and claimed that he and D12 chased ICP out of a Detroit nightclub and fired paintballs at their truck as they drove off, something the duo refuted on ‘Ain’t Nuttin’ But A Bitch Thang’. The beef was eventually squashed by D12’s Proof before his death in 2006.
Key diss tracks: Eminem – ‘Till Hell Freezes Over’, Eminem – ‘Get U Mad’, Insane Clown Posse (Feat. Twiztid) – ‘Slim Anus’, Eminem – ‘Marshall Mathers’, Insane Clown Posse – ‘Ain’t Nuttin’ But A Bitch Thang’.
Who: Rapper, actor and Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
The beef: Will Smith won the award for Best Male Video at the 1999 MTV VMAs, beating Eminem. In his acceptance speech he pointed out that he didn’t need to use profanity or threaten people in order to sell records. Em felt like the comment was aimed at him and Dr. Dre so hit out on ‘The Real Slim Shady’: “Will Smith don’t gotta cuss in his raps to sell records/Well, I do, so fuck him and fuck you too.” Smith responded on ‘Mr. Niceguy’ five years later: “Dissed by Eminem but didn’t bother him/Yup well he classy/Big Will just did another 20 mill’”
According to DJ Jazzy Jeff, something Smith said to Em before he signed with Aftermath might have been at the root of the animosity. The Bad Boys actor walked in on Jeff and Em during a recording session in Philadelphia. Jeff played him Em’s ‘Just the Two of Us’, which was later renamed ”97 Bonnie & Clyde’. Offering some blunt feedback, Smith told Em: “You’re either gonna be the biggest flop in hip-hop, or you’re gonna be the biggest thing that we’ve ever seen in hip-hop.” Jeff believes that Eminem “never forgot that.”
Diss tracks: Eminem – ‘The Real Slim Shady’, Will Smith – ‘Mr. Niceguy’.
Who: New Jersey rapper affiliated with legendary rap group Naughty By Nature.
The beef: On his 1999 track ‘Just Don’t Give A Fuck’, Eminem rapped: “I’m nicer than Pete, but I’m on a search to crush a Miilkbone.” He also mentioned him in an interview around the same time, saying that as an artist he didn’t want to “just be thrown out there like Miilkbone.” Miilkbone responded with ‘Presenting Miilkbone’ on Suge Knight’s Death Row Records compilation ‘Suge Knight Represents: Chronic 2000’, which itself was a dig at Dr. Dre’s ‘Chronic 2001’ album. Eminem didn’t respond, even after he fired off a second diss, ‘Dear Slim’. Highlighting an alleged stand off between the two, Miilkbone recalls challenging Em to a one-on-one battle at the Sound Factory. According to the Jersey spitter, it didn’t happen because Em chose to surround himself with his crew instead of going solo and risking losing the battle.
Key diss tracks: Eminem – ‘Just Don’t Give A Fuck’, Miilkbone (Feat. Naji) – ‘Presenting Miilkbone’, Miilkbone – ‘Dear Slim’.
Who: Record-breaking pop star.
The beef: Early on in his career Eminem made several references to an alleged relationship he had with Mariah Carey. She denied it during an interview with Larry King, saying she “hung out” with the rapper and spoke to him “a total of four times”. Eminem responded on the Anger Management tour by playing the crowd voicemails the ‘Fantasy’ singer allegedly left him. Then on ‘Jimmy Crack Corn’, he rapped: “Your mind’s on us like mine’s on Mariah/And y’all are just like her, you’re all fucking liars.” Later he brought Carey’s new husband Nick Cannon into it, on ‘Bagpipes from Baghdad’. Cannon responded by addressing Eminem in a blog post that he later deleted, while his wife released ‘Obsessed’. She claims the track isn’t about the rapper, but the video featured a male stalker dressed in his trademark hooded sweatshirt. Eminem then issued ‘The Warning’.
In 2019, Em revisited his beef with Carey and Cannon on the Fat Joe and Dre track ‘Lord Above’, featuring Mary J. Blige. On the track, Em spits: “I know me and Mariah didn’t end on a high note/But that other dude’s whipped, that pussy got him neutered.”
Key diss tracks: Eminem (Feat. Dina Rae) – ‘Superman’, Eminem (Feat. D12) – ‘When the Music Stops’, Eminem – ‘Bagpipes from Baghdad’, Mariah Carey – ‘Obsessed’, Fat Joe & Dre (Feat. Eminem & Mary J. Blige) – ‘Lord Above’.
Who: Actor, rapper and mogul. He is also Mariah Carey’s ex-husband.
The beef: Slim Shady’s beef with Cannon started during his highly-publicised fallout with Cannon’s ex-wife Mariah Carey. Responding to some lines in Em’s ‘Bagpipes from Baghdad’, Cannon penned a since-deleted Tumblr post where he told the Detroit legend that he was “taking full action”. Things appeared to simmer down until Cannon brought the beef back up again on an episode of T.I.‘s ExpidTIously podcast 10 years later. Triggering a response, Em went at Cannon on Fat Joe and Dre’s ‘Lord Above’ telling him he wasn’t going to “do shit” and calling Carey a “nutjob.” Cannon hit back with ‘The Invitation’, a song that claimed Eminem paid off a limo driver not to disclose a video of him giving fellatio. Addressing the accusation, Em tweeted: “U mad bro? Stop lying on my dick. I never even had a chauffeur, you bougie fuck,” before demanding an apology from the TeenNick boss. Cannon fired off a further three tracks, including the ‘The Invitation Canceled’, on which he sampled Eminem’s controversial ‘Foolish Pride’ track.
Key diss tracks: Eminem – ‘Bagpipes From Baghdad’, Fat Joe & Dre (Feat. Eminem & Mary J. Blige) – ‘Lord Above’, Nick Cannon – ‘The Invitation’, Nick Cannon (Feat. The Black Squad) – ‘Pray For Him (The Invitation)’, Nick Cannon – ‘The Invitation Canceled’.
Who: Nu metal band fronted by Fred Durst.
The beef: Once friends, the beef between Eminem and Limp Bizkit came as a result of something DJ Lethal said about Em’s beef with his former House of Pain bandmate, Everlast. During a visit to MTV, Lethal commented on the pair’s war of words and said that if things were to get physical then Everlast would come out as the victor. Not taking too kindly to Lethal’s comments, Eminem released ‘Girls’, a blistering diss track taking aim at Lethal, Everlast and Fred Durst. Appearing on D12’s ‘Devil’s Night’ album, ‘Girls’ hears Em talk about swinging on Lethal, how Durst is corny and he calls out Limp Bizkit for choosing not to appear on his Everlast diss record, ‘Quitter’. The beef didn’t escalate any further but neither party acknowledged it was officially over. However, Durst did later take to Twitter to praise Em’s ‘Recovery’ album.
Key diss tracks: Eminem – ‘Girls’.
Who: Boston rapper/reality TV star and former co-owner of ‘hip-hop bible’ The Source.
The beef: It all started when Eminem refused to speak to Benzino backstage at an event after The Source only gave his album ‘The Eminem Show’ four out of five in a review. Not taking too kindly to this, Benzino took a shot at Em during a freestyle on Hot 97 and followed it with ‘Pull Your Skirt Up’. Responding with not one, but three diss records, Em dropped off ‘Invasion (The Realest)’, ‘The Sauce’ and ‘Nail in the Coffin’. Hitting back with ‘Better Lose Yourself’, a parody of Em’s ‘Lose Yourself’, Benzino threatened not only the life of Em but also his daughter Hailie Jade. Eminem fired back with a string of records, ‘Go to Sleep’ featuring Obie Trice and DMX, ‘Bully’ and ‘Doe Rae Me (Hailie’s Revenge)’.
Em then stepped back from dissing Benzino, but the Boston rapper wasn’t ready to stop. Getting his hands on a tape featuring what was claimed to be two old Eminem records where he uses racial slurs and degrades black women, Benzino and The Source held a press conference to share the recordings, a unnamed freestyle and a song called ‘Foolish Pride’, the latter being the only one Eminem acknowledged was his. Addressing the disturbing lyrics and apologising, Em said that they came “out of anger, stupidity and frustration when I was a teenager.”
Key diss tracks: Benzino – ‘Pull Your Skirt Up’, Eminem – ‘Invasion (The Realest)’, Eminem – ‘The Sauce’, Eminem – ‘Nail in the Coffin’, Benzino – ‘Better Lose Yourself’, Eminem – ‘Bully’, Eminem (Feat. Hailie Jade, Obie Trice & D12) – ‘Doe Rae Me (Hailie’s Revenge)’, Benzino (Feat. Black Child, Chris Black & The Untouchables) – ‘G-Unit Killaz’.
Who: Eminem’s estranged mother.
The beef: We were first made aware of Eminem’s disdain for his mother, Debbie Mather-Briggs, on his breakout single ‘My Name Is’: “99 percent of my life, I was lied to/I just found out my mom does more dope than I do.” In September 1999, she filed a lawsuit claiming that he slandered her and was seeking $10 million in damages. Em continued to call her out on his 2000 album ‘The Marshall Mathers LP’; she responded by dropping a couple of songs of her own with unknown rap duo ID-X.”Will the real Marshall Mathers please stand up and take responsibility for his actions?” she asked on ‘Dear Marshall (An Open Letter to Eminem)’.
In August 2001, Mathers-Briggs’ lawsuit resulted in a settlement of $25,000. She received just $1,600 of it after the judge ruled that $23,354.25 should go to her former lawyer, Fred Gibson. Eminem was quick to address the settlement on ‘Without Me’: “I just settled all my lawsuits/Fuck you Debbie!” Then came the unforgiving ‘Cleanin’ Out My Closet’, where Em portrays Mathers-Briggs as a pill popper, abuser and opportunist: “But how dare you try to take what you didn’t help me to get?!/You selfish bitch, I hope you fuckin’ burn in hell for this shit!”
Appearing to call a truce in 2013, Em paid tribute to his mother on ‘Headlights’: “But regardless, I don’t hate you ‘cause, Ma/You’re still beautiful to me, ‘cause you’re my mom.”
Key diss Tracks: Eminem – ‘My Name Is’, Eminem – ‘Marshall Mathers’, Debbie Mathers-Briggs – ‘Dear Marshall (An Open Letter to Eminem)’, ID-X (Feat. Debbie Mathers-Briggs) – ‘Set the Record Straight’, Eminem – ‘Cleanin’ Out My Closet’.
Who: Chart-topping Queens MC who famously battled 50 Cent and lost.
The beef: Eminem adopted his beef with Ja Rule because of his relationship with 50 Cent. The first time Ja went at Em was via his family on ‘Loose Change’: “Em, you claim your mother’s a crackhead/And Kim is a known slut/So what’s Hailie gonna be when she grows up?” Hopping straight in the studio, Em recorded a series of diss records going back at Ja, including ‘Doe Rae Me (Hailie’s Revenge)’ and the remix of 2Pac’s ‘Hail Mary’ with 50 and Busta Rhymes. The Murder Inc. rapper hit back with a series of his own records, the biggest being ‘Clap Back’, which hears him compare Eminem to al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Eminem responded with a few more tracks, most notably ‘Go To Sleep’ from the Cradle 2 the Grave soundtrack, but he eventually called time on the beef in 2004 on the song ‘Like Toy Soldiers’.
Diss tracks: Ja Rule – ‘Loose Change’, Eminem, 50 Cent & Busta Rhymes – ‘Hail Mary’, Eminem (Feat. Hailie Jade, Obie Trice & D12) – ‘Doe Rae Me (Hailie’s Revenge)’, Ja Rule – ‘Clap Back’, Eminem (Feat. DMX & Obie Trice) – ‘Go to Sleep’.
Who: Rapper who became an overnight celebrity after releasing ‘Ice Ice Baby’.
The beef: Before releasing his debut album, Eminem took a swipe at Vanilla Ice as part of the rap group Soul Intent on the track ‘MC Hammer vs. Vanilla Ice’. Then in 1997, he released the songs ‘Just Don’t Give a Fuck’ and ‘Role Model’, both of which mentioned Ice in an unpleasant fashion. In an interview with Vibe, Vanilla Ice was asked about Eminem and reportedly said his lyrical skills didn’t impress him. Em took offence and responded on ‘Marshall Mathers’: “Vanilla Ice don’t like me/He said some shit in Vibe to spite me/Then went and dyed his hair just like me.” Responding to Em on record just once, Ice released ‘Exhale’ in 2001. On it he spits: “You jibber jabber, bullshit, flapper, wannabe rapper/Fake mini-me like who? Marshall Mathers.” He later stated that the song was just a joke and that he had no real beef with Eminem.
Diss tracks: Soul Intent – ‘MC Hammer Vs. Vanilla Ice’, Eminem – ‘Just Don’t Give a Fuck’, Eminem – ‘Role Model’, Eminem – ‘Marshall Mathers’, Vanilla Ice – ‘Exhale’.
Who: Jamaican-born American rapper known for engaging in a war of words with LL Cool J.
The beef: Starting in the late 1990s after originally sharing a mutual respect for one another, things changed between Eminem and Canibus after LL Cool J dissed the latter on the track ‘The Ripper Strikes Back’. Canibus accused Em of ghostwriting the LL Cool J record, and when Em denied it Canibus said he didn’t believe him. A lyrical back and forth ensued between the two rappers kicked off by Em on ‘Role Model’. What followed was a series of concept disses from Canibus rapping from the perspective of Eminem’s character Stan; the most brutal being ‘U Didn’t Care’. Em hit back with several subliminals scattered throughout ‘The Eminem Show’, but the most vicious diss came when he dropped ‘Can-I-Bitch’. “Hey, mister, would you care to bear witness to/The ass-whippin’ I’m about to administer/To this ass-kissin’ little vaginal blister?/Stanibus, little Marshall Mathers’ sister,” he rapped. Em then took a step back from the beef while Canibus continued his assault, which included the track ‘Air Strike (Pop Killer)’, where he allegedly included verses from members of D12 without their knowledge (he denies it was done without their participation). Soon after this the beef fizzled out.
Diss tracks: Eminem – ‘Role Model’, Canibus – ‘Phuk U’, Canibus – ‘U Didn’t Care’, Canibus – ‘Curriculum 101’, Eminem (Feat. Dr. Dre) – ‘Can I Bitch’, Canibus (Feat. D12 & DZK) – ‘Air Strike (Pop Killer)’, Eminem – ‘Rap God’.
Who: Multi-platinum selling producer/rapper known for his work with Usher and Mariah Carey.
The beef: Eminem’s beef with Jermaine Dupri was inherited from Dr. Dre. In XXL Magazine, Dupri claimed he was a better producer than Dre and Timbaland. The N.W.A. co-founder didn’t take kindly to JD’s words and proceeded to call him out on Em’s ‘Say What You Say’. Dupri responded with ‘JD’s Reply (Jackin’ 4 Beats)’, on which he accused Dr. Dre of not doing half of the work in the studio that he says he does. On the track’s final verse JD turns his attention to Eminem, rapping: “Oh yeah, Eminem, I left you out deliberately – you know why?/Cause to me you like a character in Disney World/Known for dissing pop groups and Justin’s ex-girl/Shit don’t nobody take you serious.” Eminem jabbed back on his Canibus diss, ‘Can-I-Bitch’, before extending his lyrical tirade to a DJ Kay Slay freestyle with Xzibit: “I stay beefing with JD, ’til the day Dre 2-ways me.” On ‘JD’s Reply’ Dupri said he would come back at Eminem “harder” if he responded, but he responded to neither Em, Dre or Xzibit.
Diss tracks: Eminem (Feat. Dr. Dre) – ‘Say What You Say’, Jermaine Dupri – ‘JD’s Reply’, Eminem – ‘Can-I-Bitch’, Eminem & Xzibit – ‘DJ Kay Slay Freestyle’.
Who: Retired rapper turned host and former member of Slaughterhouse.
The beef: As co-host of Everyday Struggle Joe Budden often defended Eminem, but when it came time for him and his fellow hosts to review Em’s 2017 single ‘Walk on Water’, Budden admitted he had lost the argument about Em’s relevance, though he remained diplomatic. Tact went out the window once the tracklist for Em’s ‘Revival’ album arrived. “The tracklist, without the benefit of the doubt, appears to be utter garbage,” Budden said on the show. This marked a shift in the ‘Pump it Up’ rapper’s critique of Eminem, which saw him call ‘Revival’ song ‘Untouchable’ “trash” and “one of the worst songs I’ve ever heard.” Eminem responded by taking a subliminal shot at Budden on the ‘Chloraseptic’ remix: “Not as raw as I was, ‘Walk on Water’ sucks/Bitch suck my dick!/Y’all saw the tracklist and had a fit ‘fore you heard it.”
In August 2018, Eminem dropped surprise album ‘Kamikaze’. On opening track ‘The Ringer’, he sent a subliminal shot at Budden and his podcast co-hosts, but on ‘Fall’ he pulled no punches, calling out Budden by name and even bringing up his 2014 arrest for allegedly attacking and robbing his ex-girlfriend. Budden responded on his podcast, telling the Detroit rapper that he’s “been better than you this entire fucking decade!” He also warned Eminem that he “live[s] for this type of shit.”
Diss tracks: Eminem (Feat. 2 Chainz & PHresher) – ‘Chloraseptic (Remix)’, Eminem – ‘The Ringer’, Eminem – ‘Fall’.
Who: Member of acclaimed rap group Brand Nubian.
The beef: It all started after Lord Jamar claimed in a Vlad TV interview that white rappers are guests in the house of hip-hop and not really part of the culture. From then he started to take issue with Eminem specifically. Addressing Jamar on the track ‘Fall’, Em tells him: “I belong here, clown!/Don’t tell me ’bout the culture!” But Jamar continued to talk about Em, saying that he didn’t think he was anywhere near the top of the list when it came to the best MCs. Em appeared to respond with a cryptic tweet that read: “People think they want this problem ’til they get it.” Jamar seemingly replied with a tweet of his own: “Every problem has a solution.”
On his 2020 album ‘Music To Be Murdered By’, Eminem called Jamar “the weakest link” in Brand Nubian on ‘I Will’. “I’m more than you bargained for and I am far more worse/Than a forty-some bar Lord Jamar verse… Your group was off the chain but you were the weakest link,” he spits. Following the release, in an interview with KXNG Crooked, Em said that he is a guest in hip-hop. Jamar claimed victory, tweeting: “This shit is case closed, now all together repeat after me…WHITE PEOPLE ARE GUESTS IN THE HOUSE OF HIP HOP THAT BLACK PEOPLE BUILT!”
Diss tracks: Eminem – ‘Fall’, Eminem (Feat. KXNG Crooked, Royce Da 5’9″ & Joell Ortiz) – ‘I Will’.
Charlamagne Tha God
Who: Host of New York radio show The Breakfast Club.
The beef: After Charlamagne trashed Em’s ‘Revival’ album and his BET Hip Hop Awards cypher, the Detroit rapper fired back at the radio host on his ‘Kamikaze’ album. “Charlamagne gonna hate anyway, doesn’t matter what I say/Give me Donkey of the Day,” Em spits on ‘The Ringer’, referring to Charlamagne’s regular segment where he gives a semi-serious critique of those whose actions he doesn’t agree with. On ‘Fall’, Em went at him again: “One last time for Charlamagne/If my response is late, it’s just how long it takes/To hit my fuckin’ radar, I’m so far away.” Em fired his last shot at The Breakfast Club host on Conway the Machine’s ‘Bang’. In the last few lines on the record, Em spits: “Y’all lookin’ at the charred remains of Charlamagne Tha God.”
Diss tracks: Eminem – ‘The Ringer’, Eminem – ‘Fall’, Conway the Machine (Feat. Eminem) – ‘Bang’.